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[2014-05-25-NJPW-Back to Yokohama Arena] Tomohiro Ishii vs Kota Ibushi


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NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi - NJPW 5/25/14

I get why this was the #12 ranked match overall for VOW poll in 2014, but I thought it was overkill down the stretch that hurt my enjoyment. It is just your basic gritty badass vs. flashy pretty boy match where the flashy pretty boy proves his mettle but ultimately comes up short. Ibushi tries to play Ishii's game early going strike for strike with him. This was much better than your typical New Japan strike exchange because there is actual character work. On every chop, Ibushi left clutching his chest while Ishii registers no pain. Ibushi is fighting through the pain to keep beating on Ishii to no avail. He is earning respect for taking his lickin' but he keeps on tickin'. Also, it sets up the story that they are playing by Ishii's rules and Ibushi does not have a great chance playing this game. I thought the best representation of that is Ibushi is fighting out of the corner and hits about three strikes and with one Ishii chop he fells Ibushi who is left clutching his chest on the mat in the corner. It was just a perfect way to establish the story. From there, Ibushi gets a little smarter and starts to use what brought him to the dance. He is embracing who he is rather running away from it. The dropkick gets him his first serious score sending Ishii scurrying, but it is too early to go up top as Ishii cuts him off and hits his delayed Superplex which is a thing of beauty. Ishii hits a nasty powerbomb and looks in control. Ibushi takes advantage of a running Ishii and hits a pele kick and then a nice hurricanarana to keep Ishii off balance followed by his trademark moonsault on the outside to wipe Ishii out. That's what Ibushi needed to do. Take advantage of the element of surprise and string a series of quick moves together. Ultimately he eats knees on a moonsault, but when he regains control again it is a Pele Kick and Hurricanarana off the top rope this time. That combination working for him because it is a serious blow to the head but it uses his altheticism to deliver pain rather than wow the crowd. That second Pele Kick was particularly vicious. Ibushi really tries to press his advantage with a Phoenix Splash but crashes & burns! Sliding Lariat...1-2-NO! BRAINBUSTERRRRR!!! 1-2-3! ****1/2 MOTYC...WAIT Ibushi didnt take the Brainbuster there was more wrestling...

Yeah, so the last 3-5 minutes or so they kind of lost me with endless strike exchanges and suplexes. It looks like Ibushi really fucked Ishii up with a headbutt cut him real good under the eye. Ishii BLASTED him with  a Zidane style headbutt that I think he was hoping would draw blood. Ibushi getting his nearfall off a Dragon Suplex seemed weird. It didnt feel big enough. Ishii hit some MONSTER TRUCK LARIATS and did win with the Brainbuster. I really liked the story they told for the first 15 or so minutes and I felt they lost their way with the overboard stif-fest finish run, but still very entertaining stuff and the fundamentals of pro wrestling storytelling were there. ****1/4  

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [2014-05-25-NJPW-Back to Yokohama Arena] Tomohiro Ishii vs Kota Ibushi

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